March 21, 2012
By Scottie Thomaston
The Washington Blade interviewed Elizabeth Warren about her positions on wide-ranging issues affecting the LGBT community, from marriage equality to ENDA. Activists have been pressuring the Obama administration to sign an executive order to protect LGBT contractors, something that would be effectively ENDA-for-federal-contractors, since the full ENDA bill in Congress has stalled for now:
“Any steps that the president can take toward non-discrimination benefit the whole country,” Warren said. “I don’t know how else to say it. It’s the right thing to do.”
The measure is sometimes referred to as the “ENDA” executive order because its effect would be similar to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, but limited to federal contractors. The White House hasn’t said whether it will issue the directive.
The Blade quoted the president of Freedom to Work asking Warren to urge the president to go ahead and sign this order:
Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work and among the chief advocates of the ENDA executive order, said “it makes perfect sense” for Warren to come out for the measure because it would ensure taxpayer money won’t go to work environments hostile to LGBT people
“I hope Ms. Warren will telephone President Obama and urge him to pick up his pen and sign the ‘ENDA Executive Order’ that his Justice and Labor departments have drafted and delivered to the White House for his signature,” Almeida said.
The order would be limited to federal contracting, but as Bilerico notes, it’s a significant reach:
The White House has a chance to step in now with an Executive Order that would cover over $300 billion in federal contracting, 22% of the US workforce, and 26 million employees, and many major US employers in construction and manufacturing, Big Pharma, and the service sector, including all the non-ENDA states like Texas, Florida, and Alabama. There are many reasons to do this, not the least of which are the political rewards of showing your mojo. Here’s a petition with over 100,000 signatories that you can sign, noting that over 70% of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, support this order.
Warren’s voice as an economic expert and as a leader in consumer protection is valuable in this conversation. Her input could be a powerful motivator, finally persuading the president to step in and do the right thing for LGBT people.
She was also asked about marriage equality, and she says it’s time for the president to issue his endorsement of equality for all:
Asked whether she wants Obama to finish evolving and support same-sex marriage, Warren chuckled and responded that was indeed her view.
“I want to see the president evolve because I believe that is right; marriage equality is morally right,” Warren said.
It’s good to see someone discuss it from the viewpoint of morality. Removing the government-imposed ban on two people in a committed relationship, loving each other and expressing that love through a lifetime bond is indeed morally as well as legally right. Supporting marriage equality is the right thing, and fighting against anti-LGBT laws and statewide marriage bans is badly needed right now, since advocates are trying to push back on so many fronts. If there were ever a time for outspokenness and for campaigning on our behalf, it’s now.